By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 13, 2009
CATONSVILLE, Md., March 12 -- Paint Branch center Khalilah Quigley stands only 5 feet 10, which is smaller than many high school guards. Yet the Panthers senior has learned how to use her broad shoulders to play much taller.
Quigley plays angles very well to box out and snag offensive rebounds, as well as uses sneaky head fakes for easy layups. She scored 13 of Paint Branch's 18 first-quarter points as the third-ranked Panthers led most of the way en route to a 76-68 victory over Western in a Maryland 3A semifinal at UMBC's RAC Arena on Thursday night.
Quigley finished with 26 points, one short of her season-high, and grabbed six of her 11 rebounds on the offensive end as Paint Branch earned a shot to defend its 3A title Saturday night against Fallston.
Paint Branch (24-2) went to Quigley right away, and she hit a 12-foot turnaround jumper to open the game. Quigley drew two fouls in the first 2 1/2 minutes on Western's 6-1 Asia Bailey, sending her to the bench.
"I try to use my strength and body pretty much to make up for the size," said Quigley, who has signed with Boston University.
In came the only other Dove taller than 6 feet, 6-2 Brielle Ward. By the end of the first quarter, Ward had picked up two fouls, gone to the bench, and one Paint Branch fan yelled out, "Next victim!"
"We knew they played behind the post and we knew we could get some fouls on them," Paint Branch Coach Heather Podosek said. "Mission accomplished on that one."
After trailing 12-10, Paint Branch scored 12 straight points to take the lead for good. The Panthers led by as many as 15, but after taking a 51-37 lead 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, Western (20-7) went on a 13-4 run over the next 6 minutes 14 seconds to cut the lead to 55-50, and it stayed in single digits for nearly the duration.
Western's senior guards Akeema Richards and Keirah Hicks were terrific from the outside in the second half. Richards scored 19 of her game-high 28 points in the second half, while Hicks hit five three-pointers en route to 19 points.
No. 3 Paint Branch 76, Western 68 Up Next: Paint Branch will play Fallston for the Maryland 3A title tomorrow at UMBC at 8 p.m. Two Dozen More: Paint Branch reached 24 wins for the sixth time in 10 years.